Tag Archives: UNICEF

On 22 February 2016, the EU and UNICEF launched a joint Child Rights Toolkit in Armenia. The launch was marked by a two-day expert training course on best practices to integrate children’s rights in all aspects of political reform and economic development government, civil society, development partners and private sector experts. The Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, three ministers of the Government of Armenia, and UNICEF’s country representative in Armenia expressed strong support to implementation of the EU-UNICEF toolkit.
ARS_6293Ambassador Świtalski stressed the human rights aspects of children’s rights: ‘The joint EU-UNICEF Child Rights Toolkit is a testimony that child rights are very important for the EU here in Armenia. We are committed to help the Armenian government, civil society, and public institutions to make further progress in advancing child rights. No meeting about child rights can pass without mentioning Janusz Korczak, a person whom I truly admire for his insights, dedication and forward thinking on the care and rights of children. He once said that there are no children – only people, but people with different experiences, different drives and reactions. This toolkit is about simple things: how to provide children with the healthcare they need, how to prevent them from going hungry or becoming malnourished, how to reduce family violence, how to give them a good education and a better start in life. This toolkit is also about building awareness, which is very important. As part of the new EU human rights budget support we will also focus on strengthening the laws and institutions. Let’s use this event and discuss not only how to raise awareness, but also how to strengthen laws in Armenia and how to build stronger institutions to advance child rights – including independent ones like the Ombudsman’s institution. The experience of other countries shows that strong laws are central to promoting human rights’.
The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Artem Asatryan, talked about the importance of cooperation between different institutions: ‘There should be inter-agency cooperation on child protection. Last year, the government approved the decision of the Interdepartmental Regulation; however, for implementation there should be guidelines and toolkits to allow social workers, doctors, teachers, NGOs and community representatives to inform relevant institutions about concrete cases and ensure that no child is left alone’.
The launch of the EU-UNICEF Child Rights Toolkit in Armenia and the expert training is also a good way to ensure that Armenia ensures the child protection and development aspirations agreed within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UNICEF representative in Armenia, Tanja Radocaj, said that, whether intended or not, every policy or reform programme positively or negatively affects the lives of children: ‘Through this toolkit and expert training we aim to support national development experts in their everyday work, so that they can make informed and strategic decisions that will make a positive difference in the lives of children, especially the most vulnerable’.
ARS_6252Arpine Hovhanisyan, Armenian Minister of Justice, welcomed all participants that had united to improve the future for children in Armenia: ‘This event shows that all of us know that the future of the countries and the world in general are children: their physical and mental development; their short and long term rights. On behalf of my ministry I can tell you that we have a very important mission to take forward on this issue and, taking into consideration our cooperation with the EU, I want to stress that the child rights is one of the most important issues in the budget support which we signed last year’.
The two-day training course will provide national development experts with practical guidance on how to develop rights-based, child- and youth-focused policies and change the daily lives of Armenian children.

On 3 February 2016 UNICEF brought together a large group of Armenian child-rights and diaspora experts in a Workshop on Innovative Approaches to Diaspora Engagement and use of Remittances for Children’s Wellbeing in Armenia. The workshop was funded by the EU as part of the “Mitigating social consequences of labour migration and maximising migrants’ involvement in local development” project.
ARS_3676Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, spoke to conference participants about the potentials as well as economic, societal and human costs of migration: ‘Armenia is a nation of migrants – more Armenians live abroad than in their country. This is not unique, but there are very few other countries where this is the case. The Armenian Diaspora is very visible; it has a very powerful political lobby in many countries; it is a source of foreign investment; it provides a cultural link between Armenia and the rest of the world; it brings very concrete and material benefits to Armenia in the form of remittances. However, let us be frank: migrant workers would bring greater benefit to their country if they would stay at home and use their skills in their own country. This does not only apply to Armenia, but also to many other countries around the globe. The EU wants to help the Armenian government to significantly reduce the migration flow abroad and develop Armenia for the benefit of the Armenian people. This land is too beautiful to allow young talents to search for a better future elsewhere’.
Ambassador Świtalski went on to discuss remittances in more detail: ‘While remittances from migrants and the Diaspora are key to sustaining many of the most vulnerable families, they are often only used for consumption and are not invested. It is important that these remittances, which currently comprise 20% of Armenia’s GDP, are used as efficiently as possible as they can contribute to growth, socio-economic development, and job creation, thereby having a beneficial impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families and children’.
ARS_3619The Armenian Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan spoke to the well-attended conference about the importance of engaging communities of Armenian diaspora and international experts in solving local challenges. ‘This conference would not take place without the EU-funded project. As part of the activities, some Armenian experts visited Ireland and we are pleased to host international diaspora engagement experts here in Armenia. The experts have already visited my Ministry and we had a very fruitful discussion, during which we shared our experiences’.
Conference participants spent the day discussing the potential of the diaspora and migrants to make more lasting and tangible contributions to social sector development in Armenia, and how they best support the most vulnerable children and families through child-focused reforms.
Tanja Radocaj, the UNICEF Representative in Armenia, discussed how Diasporan communities could offer support: ‘Diaspora Armenians and organisations can play an important role in strengthening gate-keeping mechanisms, such as daycare centres; in establishing new social services for vulnerable families; in supporting alternative family-based child care; in further developing integrated social services in the country; in promoting excellence in education and healthcare. All of these areas need support, and can have a massive knock-on effect on poverty alleviation, particularly child poverty’.
Two independent experts from Ireland and the USA, respectively, were invited to the conference to share Diaspora engagement strategies. The Conference and training was organised for the staff of the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora, staff from other line ministries and civil society organisations. Thematic discussions were also held with the Training and Research Centre of the Central Bank of Armenia and a number of other high-level stakeholders.
The visits were organised as a follow up to the earlier visit of an Armenian delegation to Ireland in October 2015 to study Diaspora engagement strategies for children and local development. The goal of the larger project, funded by the EU, is to promote the better use of migrants’ and diaspora’s financial and intellectual resources for the benefit of their communities and children in Armenia.

A two-day conference on disaster risk management was held in Yerevan on 3 -4 December, initiated by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia and the NGO “Emergency Channel”. The conference was aimed at addressing emergency information and communication issues as integral parts of disaster risk reduction (DRR), and at compiling global best practices on public awareness. The conference was organised in relation to the second phase of the EU-funded “Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-Made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership East Region” programme (PPRD 2).
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, noted that DRR required joint cooperation and consistent attention on both the regional and local level: ‘EU support is a key expression of solidarity towards Armenia. Over the past years the EU has contributed to DRR in Armenia, to which it is vulnerable as a result of its geography. In this regard, the EU has launched several initiatives, including this project’.
IMG_8285 PPRD 2 is a continuation of EU support to civil protection and disaster risk management in the Eastern Neighbourhood and a follow-up to the PPRD East programme (PPRD 1). PPRD 1 was implemented over 45 months in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and was successfully concluded on 16 September 2014. PPRD 2 will focus on 5 hazards: floods, earthquakes, landslides, wild fires and industrial hazard.